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Senior Plasma Diagnostician – Spectroscopy

UK Atomic Energy Authority
Culham, Abingdon
£49,396 to £52,293
Posting live until
27 Jan 2023

Job Details

Senior Plasma Diagnostician – Spectroscopy

Abingdon Rd, Culham, UK


Department: Tokamak Science

Salary: £49,396 to £52,293 (inclusive of MPP) + excellent benefits including outstanding pension

Confirmed Grade: Level 5

Site Location: UKAEA Culham, Oxfordshire

Company Description

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. Are you interested in contributing and helping to shape the future of the world’s energy? If so, read on.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun and Stars, is one of the most promising options for generating the cleaner, carbon-free energy that our world badly needs. UKAEA are at the forefront of realising energy from fusion, working with industry and research partners to deliver the ground-breaking developments that will underpin tomorrow’s fusion power stations with the aim of bringing fusion electricity to the grid. As we work towards our mission and goals, UKAEA has devised values (Innovative, Committed, Trusted and Collaborative) that capture the spirit of how we work.

Job Description

Who are we looking for?

Ensure the reliable operation and calibration of the visible spectrometry diagnostic KS3 and provide high quality data analysis for the JET experimental programme.  Propose and lead hardware and/or analysis code related upgrades and enhancements to the KS3 diagnostic required to meet the needs of the JET DT experimental programme.  Provide expert control room support to JET operations and experiments. 

What will you be responsible for?

  • Commission, maintain, and operate the KS3 visible spectroscopy diagnostic, ensuring its continuous, reliable operation during JET campaigns. Continuously monitor data quality;
  • Ensure the system is aligned and calibrated for JET operations and that any necessary recalibration or realignment is performed in a timely fashion;
  • Perform expert data analysis leading to production of calibrated impurity and fuel data to provide key JET parameters on H/D/T ratios, ELM frequency and Z-effective;
  • Ensure maximum scientific impact of the KS3 diagnostic by being alert to opportunities for maintenance / upgrades to hardware, code, or high-level data analysis required to meet the needs of the JET DT experimental programme. Make proposals for upgrades and maintenance to hardware and/or code and lead their implementation;
  • Keep all stakeholders (e.g. DVCM, Task Forces and JET Operations) informed of any changes to the diagnostic or data quality, as necessary;
  • Produce and maintain suitable documentation including operating manuals, calibration and alignment procedures and reports, user manuals and safety-related material to UKAEA standards;
  • Ensure all work is conducted according to the UKAEA Safe Systems of Work;
  • As technical leader, provide guidance to scientists wishing to work with the diagnostic data and collaborate with others working in the same field, including the supervision of new employees and students;
  • Perform control room duty roles such as Diagnostic Coordinator, Rostered Diagnostic Expert, Session leader;
  • Ensure that any approved upgrades or maintenance work is carried out within agreed budgets (e.g., £100k for repair and DT readiness);
  • Prepare physics specifications for procurement of new equipment.

Occasional shift work will be required in support of tokamak operations.


Essential skills, experience and competence required:

  • Extensive experience in technical or scientific environment working with hardware and/or code related issues or exploitation of scientific data;
  • Experience in managing a plasma diagnostics to deliver an upgrade/maintenance of hardware/analysis code or demonstrating scientific data analysis;
  • An understanding of atomic physics and spectroscopy;
  • Proven ability in experimental data analysis and development of software tools using programming languages such as IDL, Python, Fortran;
  • Proven ability to manage complex tasks and projects, including independent initiative and managing a team to deliver;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Desirable skills, experience and competence
  • Knowledge of plasma physics or tokamak operations;
  • Membership of professional organisation such as Institute of Physics or Nuclear Institute;
  • Accreditation of chartered status; CPhys or CEng.

Additional Information

What we offer

Our comprehensive benefits package includes a vibrant culture committed to being fully inclusive, an Employee Assistance Programme and trained Mental Health First Aiders, Flexible working options including family friendly policies, Emergency paid leave, Generous annual leave allowance (30.5 days) increased with length of service, wide range of career development opportunities, outstanding defined benefit pension scheme; Corporate bonus scheme and a Relocation allowance (if eligible).

We welcome applications from under-represented groups, particularly from individuals from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, including nationality and citizenship, people with disabilities and women. The Executive team with support from our ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion’ (EDI) Partner and Inclusion Ambassadors, is actively promoting EDI and taking steps to increase the diversity of our people through reinforcing best practice in recruitment and selection, and revaluating approaches where it is clear we can remove barriers to success.

Please be advised that this vacancy is due to close on 24/02/2023. We may close earlier than this date if large or sufficient numbers of applications are received.

Please note all employees working at the UK Atomic Energy Authority will be required to complete an online Disclosure Certificate application as part of their clearance – The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks will show the details of all current criminal convictions or will confirm that there are no such convictions.

Note for applicants who are applying for employment with UKAEA either from outside the United Kingdom or who have spent time outside the United Kingdom in the last five years. Please visit the UK Government website. If the country you are resident in or have resided in is not listed on this website or that the UK Government is not aware of how to obtain a criminal records check from that state then we are unable to process your application.


UKAEA profile imageUKAEA researches nuclear fusion (the power source of the Sun), to develop a viable future low carbon energy source. UKAEA operates two major fusion experiments, Europe’s JET and UK’s MAST Upgrade; has technology centres in robotics, materials and component testing; and is embarking on a UK powerplant design activity – STEP.

Why study with us
Harnessing fusion power for future electricity production is an enormous scientific challenge. It requires a very hot gas of fusion fuels to be confined and controlled. A scientific career at UKAEA promises to be intellectually stimulating. Research roles range from experimental physicists on UKAEA’s MAST Upgrade and the European JET fusion experiments to theoretical physicists modelling complex plasma behaviour. And ultimately, you are working directly towards a new zero carbon future – what better reason to get up in the morning?

Training and development
UKAEA is committed to developing all employees by offering a range of programmes and support to suit their individual career aspirations. Our advanced apprenticeship and graduate schemes are certified by IMechE and IET and we are members of the IET Power Academy. In the physics field we offer PhD and MSc opportunities and Culham Research Fellowships. In addition to the structured development schemes we also provide individual development as needed by the business and career trajectories, including management development opportunities.

Graduate schemes
UKAEA’s two-year graduate programme provides the opportunity to obtain skills and experience to launch your career, working on projects that make a real contribution to developing clean energy from fusion. You will spend 80% of your time on your job role and technical development and 20% on graduate scheme activities. Some of the 20% is allocated to specific tasks with the remaining time dedicated to activities chosen by you in discussion with your line manager, mentor and graduate scheme management.

What we are looking for
We are currently seeking to recruit physicists to work in a number of areas of tokamak plasma modelling such as:

  • Gyrokinetic simulations of core plasma turbulence (two positions)
  • Fast particle physics
  • Plasma disruptions
  • Runaway electron physics
  • Radiofrequency (RF) physics

Come and join us on the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme, which is an exciting programme that aims to demonstrate fusion as a net-zero carbon energy source.

Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK

Number of researchers

How to apply
Apply online at

Closing date
All year round

Tel +44 (0)1235 528822

Company info
+44 (0)1235 528822
Culham Science Centre
OX14 3DB

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